Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sick Kids

It's December in our household of 7 kids, which means three things: the kids are whining for more Hanukkah presents (because 8 each isn't enough); Andy's turning the heat down while the rest of us are surreptitiously sneaking it back up; and someone is sick.

Who? It doesn't matter. In this house, the illness creeps in sometime in late November and slowly makes its rounds of the kids repeatedly until late March. With 7 kids hanging around 7 different groups of other kids, there isn't a germ in the world that doesn't find its way into this house.

Today, it's Declan's turn. Hilary, as usual, started the fun last week with a fever/vomiting illness that lasted a few days. During this time period she watched TV for about 72 hours straight, leading the rest of the kids to think that being sick is just about the coolest thing ever. (Of course, when Hilary was sent home from school early this week and Amy informed her that there would be no TV, Hilary said, "I'm feeling better now.")

Declan, thankfully, has avoided the fever/vomiting illness but is stuck with a cold that is causing him to leak from almost every orifice (at least the ones on his head).

I'm always so conflicted when it comes to whether or not to keep the kids home from school. Our mom had a clever policy: good ol' Jewish guilt. "Only you know if you feel too sick to go to school," she would tell us, and leave us to anguish over the weight of lying to Mom versus the freedom to sit home and watch TV all day. But how do you instill Jewish guilt in a 3-year-old?

The truth is, the only reason not to keep a marginally sick kid at home is because, frankly, it will be a drag for me. I'm not proud of it, but the first thing I thought this morning when Declan said he was too sick to go to school was, "No way, buddy, I'm not missing spin class again." The fact is, there's nothing he'll miss in his pre-pre-K class today that can't be made up. And wouldn't the world be a better place if every mom kept her leaky kid home from school?

So, he's home, infecting, er, playing with Aaron and Gretchen. (Hey, it's only a matter of time, right?)

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